‘Law & Order: SVU’: Mariska Hargitay Answers Burning Questions About Her Future on the Show

by Jacklyn Krol

What does Mariska Hargitay’s future on Law & Order: SVU hold?

The show has broken numerous historic records. It became the longest-running primetime live-action series. Hargitay’s character of Lt. Benson is now also the longest-running character in a primetime live-action series. Last year she beat out James Arness in Gunsmoke and Kelsey Grammer in Fraiser. Additionally, she is the longest-running female character on television.

Last year, NBC renewed SVU for three more years, meaning it will return for Seasons 23 this fall and 24 in late 2022. The next season is expected to debut sometime in September and conclude in May.

Last year, Deadline reported that Hargitay was signing her Law & Order: SVU contracts on a yearly basis.

“But I take it year by year,” she told The Hollywood Reporter in 2019. “I remember when Jon Stewart left The Daily Show [after 16 seasons], I said, ‘Well, if he’s throwing in the towel, maybe I should.’ And then I went, ‘No, not done yet. Not done yet.’ And Dick [Wolf] wanted to break the record. But I didn’t care about the record. I already was the longest-running female character on TV.”

Hargitay confirmed that she is still “engaged and excited and still very much in it.”

“I’m in it for the long haul,” she later added. “I said [to showrunner Michael Chernuchin], ‘You keep writing like this, I’ll stay for 25 years.’ Why would I leave? I’m so grateful.”

Mariska on the Influence of ‘Law & Order’

Recently, Hargitay surprised a Law & Order fan who used Benson’s advice to get away and help catch an attempted kidnapper. A young girl was waiting for her school bus in Florida when a man attempted to kidnap her. She used her knowledge from the show to leave a trace of her blue slime on his arm so that police can later find him. Authorities did thanks to her quick thinking.

“The victim, at the time of the abduction, was playing with blue slime. … The suspect, when we caught him, had blue slime all over his own arms,” Ft. Lauderdale Sheriff Chip Simmons said during a press conference. 

Hargitay surprised the fan via Zoom during an interview with Today. She told Alyssa that she was “incredibly honored” to meet her.

“I just want to tell you how blown away me and all of my squad are that you had the forethought and the wherewithal to do what you did,” she continued before calling her a hero.

“You’re amazing, sweetheart. You’re amazing. And strong and brave,” Hargitay added. “And what’s most important to everyone is that you’re okay. That is the most beautiful gift that we all have.”